What Should I Do After a Boating Accident?

Summertime is boating time are good times, good memories, and sometimes a nice stringer of fish. Unfortunately, good days are sometimes marred by boating accidents. While we hope you and your loved ones have only great days on the water, knowing what to do if an accident occurs can save a lot of time and trouble down the road.

Safety First

Keeping everyone safe after a boating accident is your first priority.

  • If the boat is still intact and afloat, checking to be sure everyone is still on board is paramount. If someone has indeed fallen overboard, get them back into the boat as soon as possible.
  • Check all occupants for injuries and begin first aid, if needed.
  • In areas of high boating traffic or where you may be in the path of oncoming and/or larger vessels, do everything you can to get your boat to a place of safety.
  • If there are injuries and/or extensive damage to any of the vessels involved in the accident, call the law enforcement immediately.
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident until it’s clear that everyone is okay and/or has received the emergency medical care they require.
  • Even if you and the other occupants of your boat feel okay, it’s possible you may have injuries that aren’t obvious at first. See a physician as soon as possible after the accident for a complete checkup.

Report the Accident to Law Enforcement

A police accident report can help to ascertain the facts of a boating accident. In some circumstances, it is also a federal requirement. These include fatalities, missing persons, injuries requiring more than basic first aid, damages to vessels amounting to more than $2000, or accidents where the vessel is a total loss or is completely destroyed.

Don’t admit fault or speculate about the cause of the accident. There may be facts you aren’t aware of that will shed further light on the circumstances.

Gather Information

After all medical needs are met, and everyone is out of harm’s way, gather contact information. Get the names and contact information for all other parties involved, including any witnesses. Don’t forget boat registration numbers and insurance information. Take photographs, if possible.

The caring attorneys at Skaug Law have experience helping those who have been injured in recreational accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help!